Drew Fickett (center) will look to continue his comeback at MFC 30. | Erin MacDonald/Sherdog.com
Canada’s foremost MMA promotion, the Maximum Fighting Championship, will have a new lightweight titleholder come June 10, when Drew Fickett and Hermes Franca square off for the vacant strap at MFC 30 “Up Close and Personal.”
The organization on Monday officially announced both the title bout and the event, which takes place at the Mayfield Inn Trade and Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and will be broadcast live on HDNet.
MFC Director of Media and Fighter Relations Scott Zerr confirmed to Sherdog.com that the MFC and previous champion Antonio McKee opted to “mutually vacate” the title over the weekend.
MFC 30 marks the fourth iteration of the promotion’s “Unplugged” series, in which the company brings its events to smaller-than-usual venues.
Also announced for the card was a lightweight tilt between UFC veteran Marcus Davis and once-beaten Team Quest standout Richie “Hellboy” Whitson, as well as a welterweight rematch between Thomas “Wildman” Denny and Sheldon Westcott.
Fickett, 31, has turned a troubled career into one of the sport’s most impressive comeback stories. Since going 0-5 in 2009 and waging a well-documented struggle with alcoholism, the “Night Rider” has reversed his trajectory with five submission victories in a row. Three of those wins came in Shine Fights’ September 2010 lightweight grand prix, which Fickett conquered by defeating Charles Bennett, Carlo Prater and Dennis Bermudez in a single evening. The Southwest MMA representative last competed at MFC 28 in February, where he armbarred late replacement Matt Veach in just 36 seconds.
Once retired, the 36-year-old Franca also enters the title match in the midst of a career resurgence. After losing four straight from 2009 to 2010 and being robbed of a win against Ferrid Kheder in a dubious December decision, the former World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight titlist got back on track with a first-round armbarring of Jorge Sarat in February. Franca followed that performance with a knockout of touted prospect Robert Washington at MFC 29 in April and, just this past Saturday, submitted M-1 veteran Joshua Thorpe in the first round of their bout in Marion, Ill.